Oxfam’s chief executive is under internal investigation over the handling of a sex abuse claim, as he faces a grilling from MPs over the aid worker sex scandal which has engulfed the charity..
Mark Goldring appears before the Commons International Development Committee on Tuesday amid continuing anger over allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by Oxfam staff responding to the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
His appearance, alongside the chair of trustees, Caroline Thomson, and Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of Oxfam International, comes after the charity issued a formal apology to the government of the impoverished Caribbean state, reports the Press Association.
It has now emerged the boss is part of a probe at the charity, following a complaint made last month over how senior management had responded to requests to re-open a 2010 case involving allegations of sexual abuse.
Gavin Stewart, Oxfam vice-chair of trustees, said: “Oxfam takes all complaints seriously and so this is being examined by a team that is independent of management and has no previous involvement in this case. I expect the team to report their findings to me on schedule, later this month.
“The complaint related to events in late 2017 and was made by an individual who was not involved in 2010.”
The original case will be considered as part of the independent commission announced by Oxfam last week, when executive director Winnie Byanyima promised to root out any wrongdoing at the charity and provide justice for anyone abused by its staff.
Oxfam has also released the report of an internal inquiry which called for other charities to be warned of “problem staff”, only for a number of those involved to take up other posts in the aid sector.
Prime Minister Theresa May described the disclosures in the report as “absolutely horrific” and warned standards had fallen “far below” those expect of the charities and the NGOs that work with the Government.
The 10-page report was finally released by Oxfam after a leaked copy was published by The Times, prompting a storm of criticism over the way the episode was handled.
It detailed four dismissals and three resignations by staff over allegations ranging from the use of prostitutes on charity property to sexual exploitation of employees.
Suspicions that under-age sex workers had been exploited “cannot be ruled out”, according to the document.
It alleges the director of operations in the country, Roland Van Hauwermeiren, admitted using sex workers in his charity-funded accommodation and was granted a “phased and dignified exit”.
Last week he denied ever using prostitutes in Haiti.
Several men at the centre of the allegations subsequently took up roles in aid organisations, including at Oxfam.
Van Hauwermeiren became a senior figure at Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh, with the charity since claiming Oxfam made no mention of his alleged conduct in 2011.
Similarly, one former staff member was employed by Oxfam as a consultant in Ethiopia just months after being sacked, a move the charity said last week was a “serious error”.
The committee will also take evidence from Save The Children about proposals it has put forward on safeguarding and from the permanent secretary at the Department for International Development, Matthew Rycroft about what the department knew and what steps it is taking now.